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Documentary on the microbiota: “We are destroying our interior garden”

Suffering from Crohn’s disease, a serious inflammation of the intestine, Tom Gravel asked his neighbor to do something crazy: that he offer him his excrement! At the rate of several “batches” per week for two years, processed – in a blender! – in a potion that he administered rectally, Tom Gravel was able to overcome his disease. We do not advise you to do the same because “There are possible side effects”, warns a doctor. But we invite you to watch the documentary by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry de Lestrade which tells this story.

Research, in full swing, is revealing that our intestinal flora, now called “microbiota” because it brings together billions of microbes, is the guarantor of the good health of our organism. The bacteria it harbors help us digest, protect us from disease, manufacture vitamins, and act on our brains. Problem: everything indicates that our way of life weakens it dangerously.

“Disappearance of our interior garden”

One, antibiotics blindly kill all germs, with the possible consequence of promoting allergies and overweight. Two, Caesarean sections deprive babies of their mother’s digestive bacteria that they benefit from when they are born naturally. Three, our diet is too low in fiber and too high in additives. Researcher Joël Doré is worried: “We are talking about the disappearance of species but we are doing the same thing with our interior garden. ”

However, recent discoveries open up new therapeutic perspectives to fight against obesity, Crohn’s disease, even certain cancers: at the Gustave-Roussy Institute, oncologist Laurence Zitvogel is looking for bacteria that could optimize, in the form new generation probiotics, the effectiveness of chemo or immunotherapy in patients who respond poorly to treatment. It is a revolution that could upset the medicine of the future: we are no longer looking for the pathogenic element to fight it but the protective element to develop it.

“Microbiota, the fabulous powers of the belly”

Saturday June 12 at 10:40 p.m. on Arte. French documentary by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry de Lestrade (2019). 58 min. (

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